Trump friend Tom Barrack heckled as a 'traitor' as he shows up for arraignment on federal charges

  • Thomas Barrack, a close friend of former President Donald Trump, is due to be arraigned in New York on criminal charges.
  • Barrack, a private equity investor, is accused in Brooklyn federal court of illegally lobbying the Trump campaign in 2016 and then Trump's administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the oil-rich Gulf state.
  • A man carrying a sign "Traitor" greeted Barrack. Two other Trump associates, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, got similar receptions during their own criminal cases.

Private equity investor Thomas Barrack got the Paul Manafort-Roger Stone treatment when he showed up at federal court in New York on Monday for arraignment on charges of illegally lobbying his friend ex-President Donald Trump for the United Arab Emirates.

The 74-year-old Barrack was greeted by a man hoisting a sign saying "Traitor" in big black letters he entered the courthouse in Brooklyn.

That's the same message — wielded by what appeared to be the same guy — that often greeted Trump's 2016 campaign chief Manafort and his ally Stone, the controversial Republican political operative, during their own federal criminal cases, which all ended in convictions.

Those convictions later were voided when Trump pardoned both men shortly before leaving office.

Asked by a reporter how he would plead at this arraignment, Barrack replied, "Guys, I know you're just doing your job — I'll talk to you on the way out."

Barrack, who plans to plead not guilty in the case, had been jailed without bond until last Friday, when a federal judge ordered him released on a $250 million bond, one of the largest criminal bails in history.

That bond was secured by $5 million cash, more than $21 million in securities, and Barrack's home in California.

Since his release, Barrack has had to stay, per the judge's order, in the company of his lawyers. He also was fitted with an electronic bracelet, which has GPS monitoring.

Prosecutors in a detention memo last week had raised concerns that Barrack might flee to avoid the charges, given his holding of Lebanese citizenship and his access to a private jet.

Barrack, who chaired Trump's inaugural committee, was arrested in Los Angeles last Tuesday with a 27-year-old business associate, Matthew Grimes, on an indictment accusing them of secretly working to advance the interests of UAE with Trump's 2016 campaign and then during his presidency.

Grimes was released on a $5 million bond last Friday, and also is set to be arraigned in the case with Barrack at noon EDT in Brooklyn.

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Barrack, who never registered with the American government as an agent for the oil-rich UAE, is additionally charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.

Prosecutors have said that Barrack, at the same time he was promoting UAE's interests with the Trump administration, was informally advising U.S. officials on Middle East policy, and was seeking appointment to a senior role in the U.S. government, including as special envoy to the Middle East.

The indictment also charges another man, UAE national Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, who remains at large.

Last Friday, Falcon Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company backed by Barrack, withdrew its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying it was abandoning planned transactions.

The transactions had included an initial public offering of 25 million shares to raise $250 million for Falcon Acquisition, which was formed by Barrack's family office Falcon Peak, and TI Capital. The SPAC had planned to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

Barrack stepped down in 2020 as CEO of Colony Capital, a private equity firm he founded. He resigned as the firm's executive chairman in April.

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